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How To Wear Engagement Rings: A Styling Guide

styling guide for brides to be

Many girls and guys fantasise about the day when their partner gets down on one knee and surprises them with a big sparkling ring. What will I be wearing, will I be surprised and of course, will I say yes? These are just a few thoughts that come to mind when you think about this life milestone. But what about after that moment? You might not realise it, but it’s actually super common that new brides and grooms are unsure how to wear engagement rings and how they should be styled with other rings. 

To help you coordinate your engagement ring with all of your other accessories, we’ve put together this styling guide for brides to be. Read on to learn how to wear engagement rings. And if you’re a groom reading this, don’t worry, we also have a range of fantastic men's engagement rings on offer!

Overview:

How to wear an engagement ring

Which side does an engagement ring go on?

The debate over what hand to wear the engagement ring on has been tossed around for centuries and truthfully, there are no right or wrong answers. The hand you wear your ring on can differ depending on what part of the world you are in. 

On the left hand

In many parts of the western world, for example, people will typically wear their engagement ring on the fourth finger of their left hand after getting engaged. This practice can be traced back to the Ancient Romans who believed that this finger had a vein that led directly to the heart. They called this vein vena amoris, which means “vein of love” in Latin. 

On the right hand

But while countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Mexico and South Africa wear their rings on the left hand, countries such as Russia, Spain, Greece, Denmark, India, Norway, Poland and Portugal will typically wear their engagement rings on the right hand. This tradition stems from an ancient belief that the left hand was considered unclean. 

Switching hands

Some cultures also utilise both when getting engaged or married. In Brazil, couples will wear plain gold or platinum rings on their right hand upon getting engaged and then switch to the left after exchanging vows. In Germany and the Neverlands, couples will do the same as the Brazilians but with the opposite hands. While in Jewish culture, the engagement ring goes on the right index finger as it is the most prominent finger, but is moved to the ring finger after the ceremony. 

how to wear engagement rings on left or right hand

How to wear an engagement and wedding ring

Wedding ring first

Much like when you wear these rings individually, the way you wear them together varies depending on your personal and cultural values. The traditional way to wear a wedding and engagement ring in many western cultures is on the left fourth finger with the wedding ring first and then the engagement ring on top of that. Many people will wear their bridal jewellery this way as it means that the wedding ring is closest to their hearts.

Engagement ring first

On the contrary, some newlyweds will put on their engagement ring first and then the wedding ring as it represents the order that you receive them in. It is also symbolic of your journey to the altar in the sense that the engagement ring is a promise and the wedding ring helps solidify that promise. 

A ring on each hand

A more modern approach for brides and grooms is wearing their engagement and wedding rings on opposite hands. This is more so for comfort rather than for any type of symbolism, as you may find wearing two rings on the same finger restrictive. Not to mention, it is a great way to showcase your rings on their own. Some will wear both rings on the same finger during the ceremony but then swap over afterwards. 

There are even some newlyweds that won’t wear their engagement ring at all and will only wear their wedding ring, reserving their engagement ring for special occasions such as anniversaries and formal events, especially if it is something grand like a timeless diamond solitaire engagement ring

How to wear engagement, wedding and eternity ring

A year or so after you and your partner exchange wedding rings, some couples will also exchange what are known as eternity rings. Representing the bond between you and your spouse, these rings are usually gifted to one another on first anniversaries or after the birth of your first child, whichever comes first. While they often match the other bridal jewellery you wear to ensure a seamless pairing, eternity rings can also have design motifs that are somewhat different to the other two rings. 

When you’re learning how to wear an engagement ring with a wedding and eternity ring, you have a few options. 

  1. Wear the eternity ring just above the engagement ring on your fourth finger while the wedding ring sits below the engagement ring.
  2. Wear the eternity band with the wedding ring on one hand, and wear the engagement ring on the other hand. 
  3. Wear the wedding and engagement ring on the left hand, and wear the eternity ring on the right hand.

how to wear engagement rings with wedding and eternity rings

Why are engagement rings bigger than wedding bands?

Have you ever seen someone wearing a bridal set or looked at your own and wondered, why do engagement rings have a lot more bling than wedding rings? 

It’s speculated that the engagement ring is bigger and much grander than a wedding ring because it represents the biggest leap that a couple will make in their relationship. Next to the decision to start having children, the decision to become husband and wife is likely the biggest one you will ever have to make. Engagement rings let the world know that no longer are you just a couple, but rather, a soon to be married couple.

a happy couple after learning how to wear engagement rings

Now that you know how to wear engagement rings,  explore an exquisite range of engagement rings, wedding rings, eternity rings, promise rings and more in-store and online today at Shiels. 

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How to wear engagement rings: FAQs

Do you wear your engagement ring when you walk down the aisle?

It’s ultimately up to personal preference. Some brides will wear their engagement ring on their right hand so that the wedding ring can go on their left hand first. Then after the wedding ceremony, the engagement ring will be returned to the left hand. And other brides prefer not to wear the engagement ring at all.

Do you wear both your engagement ring and wedding band?

Again, totally up to you! Most brides will wear both their wedding and engagement rings on one finger, but some may prefer to just wear their wedding band. 

Do you wear an engagement ring all the time?

Most people choose to wear their engagement rings all the time, but it also depends on what you’re doing. If you’re going to the gym or going for a hike, you don’t want to risk losing or damaging your lovely ring, so it’s best to keep it at home.

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